If you were injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. However, it can be confusing to file a claim with their insurance company, and they could take advantage of you if you try to negotiate your settlement on your own.
You need the help of an attorney if you want to receive the maximum recovery in your settlement. But how do you know which one to hire out of the many that represent car accident victims? Here are tips on how to find a San Diego car accident lawyer you can trust.
How a San Diego Auto Accident Attorney Can Help You
Before you hire a lawyer, it is important to know how a good one can assist you. Knowing this can help you determine who would be the best attorney to represent you. Here are a few ways they can help you:
- Investigate your crash. Your lawyer will investigate the cause of your auto accident and collect the evidence you need to prove the other driver’s negligence, the seriousness of your injuries, and the damages you should recover.
- Value your claim. A knowledgeable attorney will be able to calculate how much you should receive for your past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
- Negotiate with the insurance company. Your lawyer will take over all communications with the insurance adjuster and negotiate your settlement with them. They will have effective strategies to defeat the insurance company’s attempts to deny your claim or pay you less compensation than you are entitled to.
- File your lawsuit. If you are unable to settle your claim or the deadline to sue, referred to as the statute of limitations will expire soon, your attorney can file a lawsuit and litigate your case for you.
What to Look for When Selecting a Lawyer
It is important to know what qualities and skills an experienced car accident lawyer should possess so that you choose one that will obtain the best results for you. Here are some of the things you should consider when narrowing down your choices:
- Experience. You want a lawyer who handles many car accident cases as part of their practice. They will have a better understanding of the laws and procedures that apply to your claim and what you can realistically expect to receive in your settlement.
- Track record of success. You need an attorney who has a track record of successfully settling claims of other clients injured in auto collisions.
- Trial experience. While most car accident claims are settled out of court, not all are. Your lawyer should also have successfully litigated these cases and taken them to trial when this is necessary.
- Availability. You need to check how often the lawyer will contact you to update you on the status of your claim and how quickly they will get back to you when you have questions or need to discuss issues in your case.
- Communication. It is also important to select an attorney who has good communication skills and can explain things pertaining to your case in a way that you can understand.
How to Find a Car Accident Lawyer
Unless you have had to file a car collision claim before, you most likely do not know any attorneys who handle this type of case. Here are ways to find an experienced one:
- Ask friends, family members, and co-workers for the names of attorneys who represented them in car accidents and other personal injury claims.
- If you have used an attorney in the past for another legal matter, ask them for a referral to a lawyer who represents car accident victims.
- A state or local bar referral service may be able to give you the name of a lawyer you can contact.
- You can also find attorneys who handle these cases by doing an Internet search.
How to Research Potential Candidates and Interview Your Top Choices
Once you obtain the names of lawyers, you will need to research them. You should check with the State Bar of California to determine if any complaints have been filed against them or if they were subject to disciplinary actions. In addition, you should search on the Internet for reviews by clients.
Finally, you should look at their websites. A good attorney will provide helpful articles, blog posts, videos, and FAQs on the areas of law that they practice for their clients. They should also have testimonials and case results showing how they successfully resolved their client’s cases. They may also list awards they received and additional certifications they have obtained.
After you complete your research, you should be able to narrow down your choices. Your final step should be to interview your top two or three attorneys. Most offer a free initial consultation. You should take advantage of this to obtain advice on your case and interview your candidates.
You should be organized and come to your appointment with a list of questions. Here are a few you should be certain to ask:
- How many car accident claims do you handle as part of your practice?
- Will you handle my case or assign it to an associate?
- What compensation can I recover and how strong is my case?
- How long will it take to settle my case?
- What is your track record of settling and litigating cases like mine?
- How will you keep me updated on the progress of my case and how quickly will you respond if I have questions?
- How much will you charge in attorney fees and other costs?